HURRAY FOR SANITY

Charles and I couldn’t make it after all but watched on TV – and it was great. CBS News put the crowd at 215,000, versus 87,000 for Glenn Beck in August. Whatever your politics, if you can spare 12 minutes, I think you might be really moved by Jon Stewart’s concluding remarks. “Because we know, instinctively as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together.”

HI, I AM A TEA PARTIER

Marge: “Don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired as we come into the home stretch. If you want six minutes of YouTube fun, I recommend this.”

☞ Needless to say, the bear on the right is not representative of all Tea Partiers. But still.

A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS

Fred Campbell: “A Republican congress seemed to work well during the Clinton era so maybe we can rekindle that magic.”

That sounds hopeful, but I fear there are important differences:

First, the Republicans already have total veto power, having adopted the unprecedented tactic of filibustering anything they don’t like.* It’s not what the Founders envisioned, but that’s what they’ve done. And I’m not sure a lot of “magic” has come out of it.

Second, the Clinton years were good. The mess we face now is enormous. Are stalemate and inaction desirable in times of crisis? Are we really better off because we had to compromise as much as we did on the stimulus bill? Or on the financial reform bill? Or because we couldn’t at least mitigate the Citizens United ruling by forcing disclosure of who the secret corporate donors are? Now is not the time, I’d say, to empower a party whose Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, tells the press: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

And third – though it may be a stretch – I fear the Republicans we have now and may elect tomorrow are more truculent and right-wing than were Majority Leader Bob Dole and Speaker Gingrich. (See the talking YouTube bears, above.)

So I wouldn’t expect much magic from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and, by extension, Sarah Palin, David Koch, Karl Rove, and Glenn Beck.

*Technically, they haven’t had to filibuster, just announce they will if a bill is brought to the floor. There is a school of thought that Democrats would gain political advantage by forcing them to literally do it, so people can see them shutting down the Senate rather than extend health insurance to more kids; shut down the Senate rather than establish a bipartisan deficit commission; shut down the Senate rather than allow gays to serve in the military. The Majority Leader’s view is that the Senate has too much work to do to waste time reading phone books for days on end. I must admit I would have liked to see it, though, and still would. It might have shamed the Republicans into obstructing fewer things. And, heck, even if it didn’t, we could use a little political advantage these days.

TOMORROW: Vote! And don’t miss this “60 Minutes” piece on prominent Republicans calling for tax hikes on the best off.

 

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